When Christina Lovio-George founded her public relations firm in Midtown Detroit more than 20 years ago, people were skeptical to say the least.
Today, the company has an expanded purview and some of the most high-profile clients in Southeast Michigan -- all housed in the same 1904 Victorian she started the company in.
Lovio-George has quite a sense of humor about her beginnings. "Most people thought my brain had fallen out of my head," she says. But she felt that the pros --including proximity to Wayne State University, neighborhood bars and restaurants, as well as being "part of a community,"-- far out-weighed the cons.
Her decision proved prescient. Until 2000, Lovio-George estimates that 80% of the firm's business was outside of Detroit proper, including a good percentage of out-of-state work. As the area around LovioGeorge grew, that changed -- she now estimates that 90% of her work is generated from within the city of Detroit.
The firm's turning point was being engaged with Detroit 300. Within months, LovioGeorge had contracts for Superbowl XL
's host committee, the Ryder Cup and the Detroit RiverFront
. "I was like, 'Holy smokes!' " says Lovio-George. "It was totally an about-face. I still shake my head about that point."
The firm was able to holistically embrace such challenging jobs because back in 1994 it had added a creative group which specialized in branding, advertising design and placement, website design and more. "We found that clients were reluctant to give creative business to someone who was out-sourcing," says Lovio-George. This end of the business has netted the firm two Emmies.
Over the years, the firm has grown from 1-1/2 employees to 17. Lovio-George characterizes the growth as "steady." She anticipates more hires, but thinks that the firm will have to either cap hiring or move to a bigger space when they hit 21.
Current projects that have Lovio-George excited are the Thanksgiving Parade
, continued work with the Detroit RiverFront and the opening of the Motor City Casino Hotel. Of the latter, she says, "It will give a real sense of the city to people staying in it."Source: Christina Lovio-George, LovioGeorge Inc.Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh